Airlift recalls you of how lifestyles have changed with time. I had a crazy imagination about it despite it’s such a pathetic incident, like how would it seem if it happens now having social media at our fingertips with people posting pictures from the place where they struck, with some nasty posts on fb – From “Food is too bad in this camp, yaar!” to “The one who’s saving us is so sexy in salt & pepper look 😘”, to even check-in updates at that Kuwait International School. Because there are younger girls and old uncles in the victims. Lol, forgive me for being such silly. Scroll down, I’m serious now.
Airlift features the largest civil air evacuation in the history of world, airlifting around 1 lakh 70 thousand Indians marooned in Kuwait at the time of the Gulf War.
A multi billionaire in Kuwait, Ranjit Katiyal (Akshay Kumar), intuits himself to stretch his helping hand to all his staff & the other fellow Indians stranded over there. He provides a refugee camp kind of accommodation in a school that safeguards them all, and he tugs all his political tie-ins to drift those 1,70,000 Indians back to their motherland. This coup looked so unrealistic that the psychic movie-goer in me wished to belittle the importance of the plot, but there’s also a fraternal film-lover hidden within me, who tapped my brain that it was based on true events thus I trusted all that I saw, also the fact that the airline incorporated in the airlift was Air India. I was like – “Woah, but yeah!”
Akshay Kumar rescues himself with a swing after that awfully reprehensible Prabhudeva’s Bloody-Bling. He certainly puts his all into the lead performance, and is terrific in playing Ranjit from every way audiences have come to expect; a filthy rich fella who would take the responsibility of 1.7 lakh people. Akki strives a bit with the dialogue but manages to keep it credible with expressions. His character transformation from an astute tycoon to this messiah of masses feels little messy yet.
Nimrat Kaur is powerful in rebuking Mr. George in that only one really solid scene she has. Also the supporting cast is really substantial. Prakash Belawadi, a scathing old man, literally exasperates you that you want to hit him with your chappals and push him from the 13th floor of a building. And that’s the admiration I give it to that actor.
Inaamul Haq delivers a delicious performance as the Iraqi Major with the flawed yet lovable accent. Kumudh Mishra as Kohli, the real hero behind this feat from India, combats a far bigger war in Delhi against the red-tapism and equanimity of Indian bureaucracy.
The thing I mostly liked in the film was its accurate period details. Well-shot in UAE, they have totally reinvented the 90’s feel. We see those vintage cars with broad dickies, cassette tapes to listen to songs, squeaky ringing plain old telephones, newsreader on TV having a flower in her hair. What not! Yeah, Sachin Tendulkar was a newcomer, being banged by the media for his poor play in his very beginning ODI days. Also the reference of “Chidiya Ud” game that Ranjit and his daughter play in the plane was so beautiful 90’s.
Airlift, from another angle, is so tangible but doesn’t attempt to offer edge of the seat experience that one would anticipate from a rescue thriller. And those songs in between ransacks the tempo and tension of a thriller from flying above. Hey, don’t listen to me, ignore them to feel it great as there are enough impressive moments to lift Airlift up without disappearing in the air. That patriotic magic in the end pumps your blood up to get gooseflesh, and your joy of being an Indian by default rouses up as high as our hoisted tricolor flag.
My Rating: 3.5/5